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Council Tax 'rebels'

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23 January, 2012

Keep track of which councils have rejected the government’s financial incentive to freeze council tax next year

* The table in this blog has been superseded by a full and final list

Brighton & Hove City Council, the country’s first council to be run by the Green party, were the first to announce they would reject the governement’s funding for a council tax freeze and instead ask residents for 3.5% more next year.

Ever since the chancellor announced last Autumn that there would be funding for a second council tax freeze there have been mutterings about the financial pitfalls of the deal.

Instead of the four years of funding offered in 2011, and which was snapped up by every council in the land, this year’s offer is for one year only, leaving councils quickly facing a financial cliff edge which will have to be smoothed by spending cuts/savings or an even larger council tax increase in 2013-14.

Sensing this disquiet, LGC surveyed councils and found that as many as one in five were seriously considering turning down the financial incentive.

Soon after our survey, it emerged that Teeside leaders had been discussing the issue and in a united front, bar Hartlepool BC, four of them announced they would increase council tax by 3.5%

Nottingham and Leicester City Councils weren’t far behind, and since then we’ve also heard from Gedling BC and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

So far, all likely suspects as councils run by national opposition parties, but would any Conservative and Liberal Democrat councils take a stand and turn down their government’s not very enticing one-year offer?

After Christmas we had our answer as Peterborough City Council went public, quickly followed by Surrey CC, Chelmsford BC and East Cambridgeshire DC. Interestingly all the Tory councils declared so far have kept their increase below 3% while the Labour and Green councils have opted for as large an increase as they can get without triggering a referendum.

More councils - of all colours - are expected to announce increases in the weeks before budgets must be set, so it will be interesting to see whether any Tory council breaches the 3% mark.

This table will be updated as and when we hear of more, so keep an eye here and on twitter for the latest news (@lgcplus, @DanDrillsma, @ruthkeeling).

25 January: Cambridgeshire CC, as it announced its proposal for a 2.95% council tax rise, emphasised that its proposal for a 2.95% increase had the backing of residents - an apparent rebuttal to ministers claims that any increase was a “kick in the teeth” for residents which would be punished at the ballot box. Full story.

30 January: The Department for Communities & Local Government has published a list of the 152 councils who have already declared they will take the freeze funding or will reduce council tax. See here.

13 February: DCLG have published an updated list of councils proposing to freeze council tax next year showing there were 201 as of 8 Feburary. The department have also put together a whizzy google map which, appropriately given the weather, uses snow flakes to indicate where there will be a council tax freeze.

DCLG council tax freeze map

DCLG council tax freeze map

13 February: Taunton Deane DC, who were proposing a 3.45% increase, and Scarborough BC, who were considering a 3%, increase have been removed from the table after they had a rethink. Taunton Deane is now proposing a freeze, while Scarborough has now deferred a choice between 2.5% or a freeze to the next full council meeting.

29 February: Chesterfield DC and North Dorset DC have also rethought their increases and have come off the list. Brighton & Hove City Council’s minority rule Green party was unable to get its increase proposal through in the final vote.

* The table in this blog has been superseded by a full and final list

Councils proposing an increase in 2012-13

* Proposal has been confirmed by full council

 Council ControlProposal
1Babergh DC*NOC3.50%
2Darlington BCLabour3.50%
3Huntingdonshire DCConservative3.50%
4Leicester City CouncilLabour3.50%
5Middlesbrough CouncilLabour3.50%
6Preston City CouncilLabour3.50%
7Redcar & ClevelandLabour3.50%
8Stockton-on-TeesLabour3.50%
9Barrow BCLabour3.49%
10Stoke-on-Trent City CouncilLabour3.49%
11Gravesham BCLabour3.48%
12Dover DCConservative3.45%
13Luton BCLabour3.44%
14Gedling BCLabour 3.40%
15Lichfield DCConservative3.40%
16Nottingham City CouncilLabour3.40%
17Tunbridge Wells BCConservative3.30%
18Richmondshire DCNOC3.00%
19Surrey CC*Conservative2.99%
20Cambridgeshire CCConservative2.95%
21East Cambridgeshire DCConservative2.95%
22Peterborough City CouncilConservative2.95%
23Spelthorne BC*Conservative2.94%
24Allerdale BCNOC2.90%
25Tonbridge & Malling BCConservative2.90%
26York City CouncilLabour2.90%
27East Hampshire DCConservative2.50%
28Epsom & Ewell BCNOC2.50%
29South Hams DC*Conservative2.50%
30South Ribble BCConservative2.50%
31Telford & Wrekin CouncilLabour2.50%
32West Devon BC*Conservative2.50%
33Chelmsford BC*Conservative2.46%
34St Helens MBCLabour2.00%

Readers' comments (6)

  • Ruth: You're wrong to list Aylesbury Vale in this list...yet. The Cabinet was undecided what to recommend so has agreed to take both options (take the grant or increase council tax) to its full Council meeting in February.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • When will pickled realise that you don't get anything for nothing, the public will pay one way or another, it is still funded from taxation, but he thinks he will gain kudos for the party!
    Just like the idiotic cash to fund weekly waste collections that nobody wants!

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Ruth Keeling

    Thanks anonymous - I have deleted Aylesbury Vale from the list

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Pickles is the playground bully but unlike most bullies not endowed with openness about his intent. If he wants councils to make future cuts he should make it clear and tighten up his grant plans for future years. With some Tory councils breaking ranks it is clear that in local government finance the pips are beginning to squeak.

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  • Aren't South Hams and West Devon two separate Councils?

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  • Ruth Keeling

    Anon - Point taken re South Hams and West Devon. They have a shared management team but their council tax decisions are being taken separately. I have now entered them individually in the table.

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